Surveying is the process of determining the relative location of natural and man-made features on or below the earth’s surface, quantifying this information as a drawing or table, and establishing measurements on the surface. Surveying typically involves measuring, calculating, drawing, and determining specific locations.
The surveyor may be asked to determine heights and distances, establish buildings, bridges, and roads, determine areas and volumes, and draw to a given scale.
History of Surveying
Surveying likely originated in ancient Egypt. Around 2700 B.C., the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza was built 755 feet long and 480 feet high. Its nearly perfect square and north-south orientation confirm that the ancient Egyptians were skilled surveyors.
Evidence of some form of boundary surveying was found in the fertile valleys and plains of the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile rivers around 1400BC. Sumerian clay tablets record land surveys and plans of cities and surrounding agricultural areas. Boundary stones marking land divisions have also been preserved.
The walls of a tomb in Thebes, Egypt (1400B.C.), depict land surveying, with people chained head to back measuring grain fields with knotted or marked rope-like objects at regular intervals. Other figures are depicted. Judging from their attire, the two figures are of noble rank, probably the overseer of the land and the inspector of boundary stones.